It’s that time of year again. Get out the tissues and the eye drops, you’re going to need them! Unfortunately, New York City is not free from the allergies that plague the rest of the world. You’d think that the lack of fields and flowers would make the city a refuge for allergy sufferers, but the opposite is true.
New York City is actually above the average in relation to the rest of the cities in the nation when it comes to allergy conditions. Each year the ratings fluctuate, but overall, New York consistently has a potent allergy season in the beginning of spring. This is mostly due to the other “pollution” factors. Yes, pollen causes the allergies, but the pollution in the air attaches itself to the pollen making for a double whammy to your already suffering allergies. This year it has started earlier than normal due to the mild and wet winter that we’ve had. This means a longer season of sneezing and sniffling.
If you think you may have fallen prey to these allergy conditions, check out the list below to confirm (or deny) your suspicions. If you do conclude that you are suffering from the allergy attack of NYC, keep reading to find out how you can keep your symptoms at bay, what to avoid, the causes, and when you can finally start to breathe normal again.
NYC Allergy Symptoms
- Stuffy and runny nose and sneezing
- Itchy, watery, and/or red eyes
- Itchy throat and coughing
- Excess mucus
- Wheezing and shortness of breath
- Itchy ears
How to Keep Allergy Symptoms to a Minimum
Without drastic measures, you can’t totally eradicate allergy symptoms but the good news is that you can take simple steps to keep them from getting out of hand. Some may require preplanning but overall, these steps won’t derail your day or keep you from doing the things you love.
- Keep an eye on the allergy forecasts in the morning. If you notice it is a bad day for allergies and pollen counts are high, avoid areas that could have a higher concentration of pollen. These places include Central Park in Manhattan, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Queens Botanical Garden, High Rock Park in Staten Island, and Wave Hill Public Garden and Cultural Center in the Bronx. Obviously, the wind will take hold of some of the pollen and spread it throughout the city, but if you stay away from these places you can drastically reduce your allergy symptoms. Alternatively, you could stay locked in your room all day but most people have to go out to face the big bad world.
- Get medical help before you start to suffer. Sometimes you can help to prepare your body for the coming allergy season with a shot or prescription allergy medications. This is for the more extreme cases when you can’t think or see straight during allergy season through the incessant sneezing and watery eyes. For milder cases, you can always leverage OTC medications.
- Sometimes a change in diet can help your allergy symptoms. Eating spicy foods can help to clear your nasal passages if you are suffering from sinus pressure. Cayenne pepper, ginger, fenugreek and even onions and garlic can all help to clear your sinuses. Also, avoiding some foods can help. Cucumber, melons, chamomile, and bananas can make allergy symptoms worse. Try not to eat these foods during allergy season and see if it helps.
- Keep your home allergy free. Have indoor clothes and outdoor clothes. When you get home, take off your clothes and put them directly into the wash. Keep your shoes outside the house. Keep windows and doors closed. Vacuum with a HEPA-filtered vacuum at least once a week. Lastly, take a shower if you can, as soon as you get home to get the pollen out of your hair and off your skin. If you can’t take one right away, at least take a shower before bed so that you aren’t breathing pollen in all night.
Why Do We Suffer From Allergies
We blame pollen, pet dander, and dust for causing our sneezing and wheezing when in reality it is our very own bodies that cause this. Our immune systems gets confused and thinks that these things are dangerous when in reality they are completely harmless.
Our bodies react by expelling mucus and tears from all orifices of our body, hoping to get these “scary molecules” out with it. Also, when the body considers something to be a danger to it, antibodies attack it with histamines. These histamines cause swelling in the nasal passages and airways.
Allergies are usually genetic, so if your parents suffer from allergies you have more of a chance of suffering, too. Even when you have never been allergic to something, imperfect conditions, such as a sickness or infection, can trigger an allergic reaction.
When Will This All End?
This year’s allergy season is supposed to be longer than ever but there will be a time when your suffering will start to alleviate. Eventually the pollen will settle and depending on rainfall and wind, June will bring some good and bad days. By July, you should be relatively allergy free!